Samsung was once the preferred partner of Google, producing not one but two Nexus mobile phones. These were the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. Google’s Nexus alliance has switched of late, with the Internet search engine giant partnering with Asus for the Nexus 7 Android tablet. Samsung recently released a 7in tablet: the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. This device was the successor to the Tab 7.0 Plus from 2011, which in turn replaced the original 2010 Tab. The 7in screen tablet market now has a new challenger for the crown, the Nexus tablet. ITProPortal is measuring up all the specifications of the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 against the Nexus 7, in a head-to-head comparison of their features.
The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 was announced in February this year, with a 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor. The tablet is powerful enough, but it’s a slight step back from the Tab 7.0 Plus’ 1.2GHz CPU.
Google’s Nexus 7 now enters the arena with a quad-core 1.2GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 chip that outperforms the two. As the name implies, this has four main CPU cores (all ARM Cortex-A9 ones like those in the Galaxy Tab’s OMAP CPU) for multiprocessing and performance-intensive tasks. It also has a fifth “companion core” that uses a low power silicon process for less intensive tasks such as background email syncing, social media updates and while the device is in standby. This “battery-saving” core is capped at 500MHz and is ‘on’ while video and audio playback is being handled by the Tegra 3’s dedicated hardware decoders and encoders.
The Nexus 7’s Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC also features a 12-core GeForce graphics processing unit for rendering games, graphics and Flash-based content. Samsung, on the other hand, has opted for the quad-core ARM Mali-400 GPU.
At 193.7 x 122.4 x 10.5mm (HxWxD), the Tab 2 7.0 is not too far off the Nexus 7’s 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm dimensions. Basically, the Tab 2 is a little shorter and a littler wider. Their weights are also similar – 345g for the Tab 2 and 340g for the Nexus 7.
The two products have powerful batteries, with Google claiming that the Nexus 7 is capable of eight hours of active use. This comes with a 4,326mAh battery, whereas the Tab 2 7.0 has a 4,000mAh one.
Both have 7in displays, although they differ based on the technology used. There’s a PLS (Plane-to-Line Switching) LCD in the Galaxy Tab 2 and an IPS (In-Plane Switching) one in the Nexus 7. These panels provide wide viewing angles and good brightness, although Samsung’s PLS tech is meant to deliver a higher brightness level with lower power consumption. The two tablets differ in terms of resolution, too, with the Samsung device sporting 1,024 x 600 pixels and the Google device a “720p-ready” 1,280 x 800 pixels.
Rear-facing cameras aren’t always necessary in tablets, although front-facing versions are useful for video-calling. Both have front cameras, with a 640 x 480-pixel sensor in the Tab 2 and a 1.2-megapixel sensor in the Nexus 7. The Tab 2 does have a rear-facing 3.2-megapixel snapper that can record HD 720p video.
Accessing the Internet is key for any mobile device, none more so than a tablet. The Nexus 7 only ships in a Wi-Fi edition, but with Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC built-in. The Tab 2 7.0 is available in 3G and Wi-Fi versions, which does add an extra £100 to the cost. There is only Bluetooth 3.0 as standard here with no NFC support.
Both tablets run Google’s Android operating system, with the familiar Samsung TouchWiz user interface on top of the Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 OS. ICS is not always expected with tablets that shipped early this year, so it was a key attraction to the 2012 Samsung range. The Nexus 7 ships with the very latest version of Android, Jelly Bean 4.1. It’s the first new product to go on sale with this platform, which has features such as offline voice recognition and the Google Now personal assistant.
Both tablets have 1GB of RAM. There is also a range of storage options, with both of them purchasable in 8GB and 16GB versions. The Galaxy Tab 2 does have a microSD card slot in its favour, which the Nexus 7 lacks. With it you can increase the storage capacity by adding a 32GB memory card. Obviously, the Nexus 7 can get around storage limitations with Dropbox or Box.net apps, but this doesn’t entirely make up for the lack of a microSD card slot.
The Google Nexus 7 costs £159 for the 32GB version. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 has a price £99, for the 8GB Wi-Fi version, respectively (prices from Amazon).